Christian women and girls in minority situations
On International Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8th, Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN) will be hosting a video conference to present the organization’s latest report, Hear Her Cries—The Abduction, Forced Conversion and Sexual Victimization of Christian Women and Girls.
From ACN Canada
“It’s about time that we start to address this little-known phenomenon,” says Marie-Claude Lalonde, ACN’s National Director. “In the six countries covered by the report, it is now much clearer that being part of a minority plays a direct role in the sickening violence inflicted on women. Because victims rarely report violence, either because of notoriously inactive police forces or because they keep quiet for fear of reprisals, it is extremely difficult to document this very real phenomenon.”
The report includes cases reported to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) and other international agencies, as well as testimonies from women from six countries: Nigeria, Mozambique, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt. “For example, despite the trauma she has endured, Maira Shabhaz signed the foreword to this document. It takes courage and sheer determination, as she and her family still have to hide from the death threats she receives,” says Lalonde.
In April 2020, at the age of 14, the Pakistani girl was abducted, tortured and raped. “Everything was recorded and a film was made of it,” she writes in the foreword. “I was blackmailed. I was forced to sign a certificate showing that I had converted and married my kidnapper. I was told that if I refused, my family would be killed.” She managed to escape from her kidnapper in August 2020.
“This is just one of many examples,” says Lalonde, “and the fact that she is a member of the Christian minority is one of the elements that explains what happened to her and how her case was handled by the authorities.”
During the video conference on March 8th, one of the co-authors of the report, John Pontifex, Head of Press and Information for ACN UK, will speak about what led to the release of the report.
Video conference Hear Her Cries, March 8, 2022, 7 p.m.
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